One of two men accused of accosting and robbing former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Javon Walker was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Deshawn Thomas, 42, was convicted in April of six felonies, including first-degree kidnapping, robbery and battery, after a two-week trial that featured testimony from Walker and Thomas' co-defendant in the case.
Judge Douglas Smith sentenced Thomas under the habitual offender law, which allows for lengthier prison terms.
Prosecutor Josh Tomsheck said Thomas "earned the right to a harsh sentence," with six previous felony convictions, one in Nevada and five in California, including assault with a firearm.
"He has an ongoing pattern of preying upon tourists in our community," Tomsheck said.
Thomas is already serving a two- to five-year prison term for stealing a tourist's watch about two weeks before Walker was robbed in June 2008.
Thomas addressed the court at the sentencing but did not apologize for what he had done.
Thomas said he has experienced a revelation since his arrest in the Walker case.
"No matter the outcome of this, my life will be a positive reflection and a motivational inspiration to my children and my family and possibly to some of the people of our society," he said.
Defense attorney Betsy Allen had asked for a sentence of 11 to 30 years, "a sentence that gets his attention, but not so much to keep him away from children who love him for the rest of his life."
Smith said he believed that Thomas had goodness in him based on letters he received from his children, who asked the judge to show mercy.
"A higher being possesses mercy. I don't have mercy. I don't have any personal feelings either way," Smith said before sentencing Thomas to the life term.
Based on the letters from Thomas' children, Smith said, "There's got to be some good in you. But hell, man, you don't ever act good."
Authorities said Thomas masterminded the robbery after spotting a drunken Walker at the Hard Rock Hotel, following him to the Bellagio, and then robbing him.
His co-defendant, Arfat Fadel, 32, pleaded guilty to robbery, second-degree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Fadel testified against Thomas, fingering him as the man who struck Walker and robbed him of more than $100,000 in jewelry, cash and casino chips.
Fadel is scheduled to be sentenced next week. He faces two to 15 years in prison as part of his plea deal.
Walker was found unconscious with facial injuries and a concussion in a driveway near Koval Lane and Winnick Avenue.
He was robbed of at least $3,000 in cash, $4,000 in casino chips and $100,000 in jewelry, including a diamond-studded chain and watch and a pair of 2-carat diamond earrings, according to testimony.
After testifying during the April trial, Walker told the Review-Journal that he wanted the two defendants to be punished harshly for their crimes.
"Guys like that, you don't know if they change or not," Walker said, adding that the two defendants need to spend a lengthy time in prison "to think about what (they've) done wrong."
Evidence presented at the trial included overwhelming amounts of casino security video footage showing Thomas and Fadel following Walker before the robbery.
Walker testified that he showed "poor judgment" and got into an SUV with Thomas and Fadel -- despite not knowing them -- because he believed they were going to take him to meet with his friends at a nightclub across the street from the Bellagio.
A blood-alcohol test showed that Walker's results were nearly four times the legal limit for driving hours after the assault.
The robbery occurred while Walker was visiting Las Vegas after signing a six-year, $55 million contract with the Raiders.
Walker, who also has played for the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos, was released by the Raiders in March after two seasons with the team. He is currently an unsigned free agent.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at email@example.com or 702-380-1039.